KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Trade between Brazil and this country will increasingly become important as the economic dynamic continues to shift internationally, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said last week.
The Portuguese-speaking South American nation recently replaced the United Kingdom as the world’s fifth-largest economy.
“There is a different world. You have countries like Brazil and China and India and Russia, Turkey. These are countries, which are new boys on the block, so to speak,” Gonsalves said, adding that Europe is looking to these markets to help to stimulate economic growth.
He said that while the United States is also looking at these emerging economies its own economy and internal demand is large enough to stimulate growth.
Gonsalves said that Brazil is important in the areas of energy, agricultural products, and manufacturing.
“And that is why we have been trying in our own foreign policy and trade policy to see how we can tap into Brazil,” added Gonsalves, who visited Sao Paulo last year on behalf of Invest SVG, the country’s investment promotion agency.
During that trip, the country failed to sell the Campden Park Container Port as redistribution point for Brazilian goods to the region.
But both countries have strengthened ties at the diplomatic level.
“We have a Brazilian ambassador here – it is a remarkable thing, a country that is in the … top five [economies] they have an embassy here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We are now together in CELAC, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, so there are many things. But this is a work in progress,” Gonsalves said.
He recounted a recent speech in which he said many Vincentian students should start learning Portuguese, adding that some citizens might have thought he said this because of his Portuguese heritage.
“But Brazil is almost 200 million people. Portugal is not an important country with the Portuguese language. It is Brazil and Angola,” Gonsalves said.
He further stated that while the credit ratings of several countries in Europe, including Portugal, have fallen, Brazil’s has increased and many Portuguese are now going to Angola to work.
“The 10 million people in Portugal, that’s not the – It is Brazil and it is so near to us. You have a country with 195 million people, the fifth largest economy in the world, the fifth largest land area in the world. These are statistics which people should familiarise themselves with and see where we have to go,” Gonsalves said.
“I know that this St. Vincent and the Grenadines is going to have, as the years roll by, more and more relations – and the whole of the Caribbean – with these countries in Latin America, including Brazil,” he said.
“I will be dead an gone when it becomes a normal thing for people to hop on a plane and go into Sao Paulo or go into Brasilia and people coming up from Brazil, the tourists in our country and so on. It has started a little but we need to have it more,” said Gonsalves, 65.